Shorts for Shorties: Mission to the Milky Way

Shorts for Shorties: Mission to the Milky Way
While some children's movies have proven to be comprehensive, thematically rich tapestries communicating complex issues in a straightforward manner, many are derivative, appealing to the fleeting nature of a child's attention span.

In the case of this Shorts for Shorties program, it seems that children were rarely considered at all. In fact, most of the shorts look like stoned frat boys created them with an intangible idea in mind.

Starting out the program is the cute animated short, The Little Bird and the Leaf, wherein the titular bird goes on an adventure with a leaf through the winter wind. Also featuring a bird is Colosse — A Wood Tale, where a woodpecker saves a big wooden robot by showing him some heart. Beyond the birds, the commonality here is the peculiarity in execution.

In Dreampacker, a little girl explains that she's always prepared for the worst but learns that her fears are weighing her down. It's a sweet stop-animation short that teaches the lesson that we shouldn't focus on the negative aspects of life.

Also providing a moral lesson is Moving Forward, a simple animated tale of a little monster riding a rollercoaster for the first time. The little guy sums it up when he says, "Sometimes trying new things moves you forward."

A young boy tries prematurely forcing his baby teeth out in Ernesto, reminding us to take our time and enjoy our youth. Of note is the curious decision to have the boy's singing teeth sound eerily similar to the Jackson Five.

Rounding out the easy morality shorts is Brad & Gary, a computer animated story about two friends that seemingly can't keep their fingers out of places they shouldn't be putting them, which is something we struggle with even in our adult years.

The Lost Years is a quaint stop-animation short about a little sea turtle that goes to sea for the first time. There isn't much of a narrative, but the little cut-out felt pieces sure look nifty.

Gadget Boy is another amateur animated tale about a gadget-conscious little boy that manages to use his interest to help a friend repair a broken toy. More esoteric is the vividly animated Pl.ink!, which features a jazzy piano soundtrack and an array of oblique designs. It takes the idea of inkblots to an interesting level, but unfortunately doesn't offer much of a story.

Finishing off the program is The Itch of the Golden Nit, from the same studio that brought us Wallace & Gromit. The story is fairly simple: young Beanie embarks upon a mission to save his parents from the Evil Stella, replacing the Golden Nit at the heart of the sun, thereby saving the universe. But what makes this short film so fascinating is that it was animated using thousands of British children's drawings that were submitted to the Tate Movie Project.

The very notion that the creativity and imagination of so many children can be brought to life on the big screen is inspiring.